11. “Oh, a butcher — a knife — I want Grannie.” He blew out the candle, bent down and caught up the child in his arms, carrying her along the passage to the big bedroom. A newspaper was on the bed. He put away the paper, then carefully tucked up the child. He lay down beside her. Half asleep still, still with the butcher’s smile all about her it seemed, she crept close to him, snuggled her head under his arm, held tightly to his shirt.
Then the dark did not matter; she lay still.
“Here, rub your feet against my legs and get them warm,” said Father.
12. Tired out, he slept before the little girl. A funny feeling came over her. Poor Father, not so big, after all — and with no one to look after him. He was harder than Grandmother, but it was a nice hardness. And every day he had to work and was too tired to be a Mr Macdonald... She had torn up all his beautiful writing... She stirred suddenly, and sighed.
“What’s the matter?” asked her father. “Another dream?”
“Oh,” said the little girl, “my head’s on your heart. I can hear it going. What a big heart you’ve got, Father dear.”
Kezia had cried and brought her father to the room. When he questions her about what was wrong, she tells him that she saw a butcher with a rope and knife. She keeps stuttering even now. She could only utter words and not form a sentence out of fear. Her father understands the situation and blows out the candle to carry her down the passage to his room. It was a big room with a newspaper on the bed. He throws the newspaper away to put her in the bed. He carefully tucks her up in the bed. He lies down beside her, thereby protecting her. Kezia lay there feeling his warmth and trying to get over the butcher's smile out of her mind. She rested her head on his arms and held on to his shirt tightly. When she lay there, the darkness did not matter as she had the support of her father. He also asks her to put her feet close up to him so that they get really warm. His fatherly love is expressed when he does so.
Father tucks her in bed
Father, who was already tired, falls asleep before Kezia. As she lay there and looked at him, a funny feeling creeps in. She realises that her father is not a bad person after all. He was just big in physical stature but had a warm heart. He in fact had no one to look after him. He was the breadwinner and had to work really hard for the betterment of the family. His body was hard compared to grandma's as it had stiffened up due to hard work. But it was not a rough hardness, rather a nice and warm one. She realises that, unlike her neighbour MacDonald, her father was too tired to play with her after work. She had torn away all the papers related to his work, which might have affected his professional front. She stirs in the bed, which woke her father. He asks her what the matter was, to which she answers that she could hear his heartbeat. Since she had put her head close to his heart, she says that he has got a big heart, which indirectly states that he is indeed a kind hearted person.
Words with difficult meaning:
|Passage||The way that leads to a room|
|Tucked up||To pull the bed covers over someone|
|Snuggled||To get comfortable with another person|
|Crept||Get closer slowly|
|Breadwinner||One who earns for the family|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Little Girl - Katherine Mansfield (pp.32-35). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.